2013 Sports Preview: Part 2

This time of year is usually brings about introspection as we mull over the various achievements and short comings during the previous year. However, we are going to take a look forward to the sporting prospects 2013 has to offer, in hope that the triumphs of 2012 are an inspiration, not an anomaly.

Football

The FA’s 150th year is a major milestone in 2013 and a special calendar of sporting events has been composed in order to mark the anniversary.

On top of a shiny new FA crest, England will travel to Brazil to play a friendly and mark the opening the Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte in preparation for the 2014 World Cup.

England will also host Scotland at Wembley, with the tartan army hoping to repeat the feat of their 2-1 victory and subsequent pitch invasion in 1972, as well as the Republic of Ireland as the sides meet for the first time since 1991.

Furthermore, Wembley plays host to the Champions League Final for the second time in three years. The remaining English sides will have their work cut out if they are to reach the final following tough draws in the last sixteen.

The summer of 2013 will also see the Confederations cup take place in Brazil. The competition will act as a prelude to the 2014 World Cup and will feature Brazil, Spain, Japan, Mexico, Uruguay, Tahiti and Italy who qualified as runners up of Euro 2012, a result of Spain qualifying through both their World Cup and European victories.

Golf

Rory McIlroy secured his second major win at the age of 23 in 2012. He also topped the PGA tour money list, won PGA player of the year and helped Europe to Ryder cup victory in Medinah.

After such triumph, 2013 can either be the year that McIlroy cements his dominance or highlights the capricious nature of success in professional sport.

Tiger Woods will want to reassert himself and try to capture his first major since 2008. Fans will hope that 2013 brings some classic golfing battles between both players

Ian Poulter will continue his quest for a major victory in 2013 and will hope his virtuoso performance as the Ryder Cup can spur him on to individual glory.

Cricket

The Ashes will return to England in 2013 with the English beginning their defence of the urn at Trent Bridge in July.

The Baggie Green’s will be without former captain Ricky Ponting following his retirement from international cricket but will look current captain Michael Clarke to provide inspiration after an excellent year in 2012.

Alastair Cook will captain a buoyant England side on the back of their outstanding victory in India this winter and will hope his status as captain can continue to motivate his performances as England are likely to enter the series favourites.

Rugby

Wales will enter the 2013 RBS Six Nations as the leading contenders after their defeat of France in an epic conclusion to the 2012 competition.

2012 was Wales’ third Grand Slam victory in a decade and with the young talents of Leigh Halfpenny and George North in the side, they could be set to dominate for years to come.

However, England will take heart from their hugely impressive, if unexpected, victory against New Zealand at Twickenham this winter. Chris Robshaw captained a side that completely outplaying the All Blacks and ended their 20 match unbeaten run.

2013 will also feature the British & Irish Lions tour of Australia beginning in June. Warren Gatland will hope to continue the Lion’s impressive record against Australia winning 15 of the 20 test matches that have taken place.

Boxing

2013 is set to be a year of potential bouts. The ongoing narratives of whether Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao will finally rumble, in light of Pacqiao’s recent defeat to Juan Manuel Marquez, and whether David Haye and Vitali Klitschko can come to some agreement over a heavyweight brawl are yet to be unravelled.

Fights much more likely to happen are Carl Froch’s rematches against Andre Ward and Mikkel Kessler, the only fighters to beat him in his 32-fight career. After defeating Yusaf Mack during the third-round in November, and at the age of 35, Froch will want 2013 to be the pinnacle of his professional career.

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